The First Time

George Washington was the first President whose likeness appeared on a U.S. postage stamp. The stamp was issued in 1847.

John Adams, who followed Washington in office, was the first President to live in the White House. Adams and his wife moved in on November 1, 1800. (The White House was under construction during Washington's administration.)

Thomas Jefferson was the first President to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. The date was March 4, 1801. John Adams, who preceded Jefferson, took the oath of office in Philadelphia. George Washington, Adams's predecessor, was inaugurated in New York for his first term, and Philadelphia for his second.

The first President to ride on a steamship was James Monroe. The vessel was the Savannah; the date was 1819.

Andrew Jackson, born on March 15, 1767, was the first President to be born in a log cabin.

Martin Van Buren, born on December 5, 1782, was the first President to be born a citizen of the United States. Previous Presidents had been born before the American Revolution, and thus were born British subjects.

At a White House reception on July 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson introduced the custom of having male guests shake hands. In previous administrations, men had bowed stiffly.

James Madison, who served from 1809–1817, was the first President to regularly wear long trousers instead of knee breeches.

William Henry Harrison, the ninth President, was the first to die in office. When he died on April 4, 1841, he had been President for only 32 days.

John Tyler was the first President to marry while in office. On June 26, 1844, Tyler married Julia Gardner in New York City.

Abraham Lincoln was the first President to be born outside the borders of the thirteen original states. Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809.

The first President to visit the West Coast was Rutherford B. Hayes. He arrived in San Francisco during September 1880.

In 1909, William Howard Taft, the 27th President, was the first to have an automobile at the White House.

The first American President to visit a foreign country was Woodrow Wilson. He sailed for France, on December 4, 1918, to negotiate the peace treaty ending World War I.

Herbert Hoover, born in West Branch, Iowa, on August 10, 1874, was the first President born west of the Mississippi River.

Hoover was also the first President to have a telephone in his office. It was installed on his desk in 1929. Before that, the White House telephone had been located in a booth outside the Executive Office.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first President elected to a third term (in 1940). He was also elected to a fourth term in 1944. Later, in 1951, the Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution was adopted, limiting presidential service to two terms.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first President of all 50 states. Hawaii, the 50th state, entered the union on August 21, 1959, during the Eishenhower's second term.

Eisenhower was also the first President to hold a pilot's license.

John F. Kennedy, born on May 29, 1917, was the first President born in the 20th century.

Lyndon Johnson was the first President to be sworn in by a woman. Johnson took the oath of office on November 22, 1963, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The oath was given by Sarah Hughes, a Federal District Judge, in the presidential airplane, at Love Field, Dallas, Texas.

Richard Nixon was the first President to visit all 50 states.

Nixon was also the first President to resign (on August 9, 1974).

Ronald Reagan was the first President to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court. During July 1981, Reagan chose Sandra Day O'Connor to fill a vacancy on the Court.

 

Adapted from Facts and Fun About the Presidents, by George Sullivan. (Copyright 1987. Published by Scholastic.)

  • Subjects:
    The Presidency
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